Music theory is simple
Music theory is simple if we understand each study step! Studying music theory and starting from concepts that are already complex (something that often happens) is wrong and often discourages those who try to approach them! We think of the study of music theory as the construction of a house: we need the foundations, the right terrain, bricks, cement etc … The house is built brick by brick, step by step, just as we can and must build our theoretical musical knowledge!
From the note to the major scale
It starts with a sound, which we can call by the name of C. The C note is just a sound with a name, but to form a scale it needs other different sounds. Here we have to use a magic formula called structural formula: TONE TONE semitone TONE TONE TONE semitone. (where “TONE” means 2 forward keys and “semitone” means 1 forward key).
Following this formula, starting from the note of C, we reach the other sounds that will be C D E F G A B. (from C to D there is a TONE, from D to E there is a TONE, from E to F there is a semitone and so on …). Now we have 7 different notes (or sounds), and we have formed our first major scale.
From the major scale to the chords
We have single sounds, which we can use to make solos, melodic themes or vocal lines, but we don’t have the chords to play on yet! How can we quickly form chords using the notes we found? 7 notes means we can find and build 7 different chords, each built on top of each note. If we take the first, third and fifth note (each time starting from a different note) we will find the notes that constitute an chord. For example, the chord built on the first C note will be a C maj (which includes the notes C E G) where C is the first degree, E the third degree and G the fifth degree. Same thing we will do each time starting from a different note for all 7. For example, the one after will be the D chord (composed by the notes D F A). And keep it up to the end !.
Major and minor chords
Now that we have 7 chords (or the so-called GIRO ARMONICO), C D E F G A B, we must understand if they are major or minor chords. To do this there is a quick trick. Just take the first degree and the third degree for each chord and measure the distance. If the distance is one tone + one semitone the chord will be minor, if instead the distance is 2 tone the chord will be major.
For example, let’s take our firstchord: C. As seen it is composed of the notes C E G. Taking the measurements between C(first degree) and E (third degree) we will note that there is 2 distance tone, so the chord is major. Another example, let’s take the second chord: D. As seen it is composed of the notes D F A. Taking the measurements between D (first degree) and F (third degree) we will note that there is 1 tone + a semitone of distance, so the chord is minor.